This article was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, March 16, 2006.

Greens and sausage soup

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two with ample leftovers)

Smallish baking potato
1/2 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
Dried red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
3 or 4 canned peeled tomatoes
15-ounce can garbanzos
Bunch fresh broccoli rabe
1 cooked smoked sausage


1. Peel the potato and cut it into small dice. Peel and chop the onion; peel and mince the garlic.

2. Put the olive oil into a large saucepan or soup pot and cook the onions and garlic with a shake of dried red-pepper flakes until the vegetables are translucent and aromatic. Add the diced potatoes, salt and pepper, cook for a moment or two, and add the chicken broth.

3. Roughly chop the tomatoes, and rinse and drain the garbanzos. Put them in the pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. While the soup is simmering, cook the broccoli rabe (or other greens) in salted water just until it's tender. Drain and chop coarsely. Cut the sausage into thin pieces.

5. Just before the soup is done, buzz it briefly with a stick blender. You don't want to turn it into a puree, just blend enough of the solids to make a natural thickener. Put in the cooked greens and the sausage slices and cook until warmed through.

This is a hearty soup that provides all you'll need for dinner in a pot, although it's certainly appropriate to put a loaf of crusty bread alongside.

WINE MATCH: It ought to be served with a fruity Portuguese red, perhaps an Alentejo, although the other night when Mary was out and I made this as a bachelor dinner, I washed it down with a crisp wheat beer. That was fine, too.